With oceans covering 70 % of the Earth and playing a vital role in our lives and economies, in 2014, it was reported the European Blue Economy represented ~ 5.4 million jobs and a gross value of almost
€ 500 billion. Yet ocean is extremely fragile and experiencing increasing pressure on its resources and ecosystems through human activities.
Sea for Society, funded under FP7, a three-year mobilization and mutual learning action plan with 28 partners from 12 countries, set out to address the challenge of taking advantage of the Ocean’s tremendous opportunities to meet society’s current and future needs whilst protecting it for future generations.
Sea for Society has engaged over 500 stakeholders and citizens in a dialogue on the future of our Ocean. Together they have developed more than 700 ideas to improve human-Ocean dynamics and over 600 solutions to address barriers to sustainability. Ultimately, putting these solutions into action will help us build a Blue Society.
• On 18th November, the Blue Society Launch event, hosted by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos and organised in collaboration with the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” will provide a platform to learn and exchange on how the concept of a Blue Society can become a reality through open discussion among invited participants representing science, industry, policy-makers and civil society.
Sectoral representatives, including youth, will use their own practical experience to explain how we can move towards a Blue Society by galvanizing its values within their own spheres of influence. The event will be an opportunity to exchange ideas, identify practical strategies and present the Blue Society’s recommendations to European Commission and European Parliament representatives. Representatives of attending organisations will also be invited to sign a commitment to become examples of the Blue Society by committing to positive change in their own personal and professional activities.
• On 17th November at the Royal Belgian Academy of Science, (from 10.00 to 19.00) Youth also gets in action: European citizen representatives aged 18-25 will meet as the Blue Society Youth Parliament to discuss how they can contribute to a Blue Society and demand a sustainable and productive future for themselves and generations to come.
Concrete examples of ongoing activities engaging with public and stakeholders on the importance of the Ocean and Ocean-related services to humankind :
- The Prof. Mario Ruivo Prize, organised by EurOcean, running from October 1st 2015 to 31st August 2016,
calls teams of young people, aged 11-16 years old, across Europe, to imagine an innovative project on the theme: “Your Ocean, Your Future”. This can be achieved by designing a novel research project, implementing a community scheme, investigating a topical subject through the popular media, etc. that supports the Blue Society Principles.
> There are awards and prizes worth over € 5,000 to put winning plans into action!
- The Blue Society photo contest invites participants to present through one picture, their positive view on the role the Ocean plays or could play in our daily lives. The winning photos will be exhibited in the European Parliament on the 18th November 2015.
- Sea for Society Ireland Marine Outreach and Ocean Literacy Think Tank organised by The Marine Institute, AquaTT and the National University of Ireland, Galway, works to progress and coordinate Marine Outreach and Ocean Literacy activities in Ireland. Its activities have been ongoing for the past 2 ½ years.
Next meeting : November 26th 2015.
- The Laboratoire de la Blue Society, organised by Nausicáa, Armateurs de France and the CNRS, gathers all professionals of the marine industry, marine research and Ocean NGOs to operationalise the Blue Society concept. Next meeting : 7th January 2016. More information upon request.
Blue Society, Sustainable Ocean Management, Eurocean, Nausicaa